How to create a smarter home

New smart home technologies can bring down your electricity bill and make it easier to secure your windows and doors. Here’s all you need to know

Story by: David Renwick
Ever wondered how you can put these new furniture, interior design, shelving, window, gray, black
Ever wondered how you can put these new technologies to use and create a truly smart home? We’ll show you.

The home has certainly come a long way in a very short space of time. In less than a century, we’ve seen massive improvements in design, insulation, heating and cooling, and the appliances we use every day.

Now, with home automation, even bigger changes are on the way.

Ever wondered how you can put these new technologies to use and create a truly smart home?

We’ll show you.

Home automation – What is it?

In a nutshell, home automation turns your regular home into a smart house. Through a central hub, your smart house manages things like climate, lighting, security and entertainment. However, home automation isn’t one device, but a number of smart technologies working together in concert.

Here are some of the more popular uses of home automation, as well as how to create your own automated home.


Smart speakers allow you to control different aspects audio equipment, close up, white, black
Smart speakers allow you to control different aspects of your home using only your voice.

Most popular uses for home automation tech

Climate control: Install a smart thermostat and a few heat sensors throughout your home, and you’ll start to notice changes in your home’s climate – and your energy bill. The thermostat connects to each of your heating/cooling appliances (as well as the sensors), and monitors how you manage your climate.

Then, it starts to schedule heating and cooling cycles around your preferences. If you like it colder in the morning, it’ll turn the heat down automatically.

Security: Imagine never again worrying about whether or not you closed a window or locked a door before leaving for a holiday. Well, home automation tech can solve this problem too.

The way these security systems work is a little different from manufacturer to manufacturer, but Nest offers a good example.

With Nest’s security product, you install a number of sensors on your doors and windows, as well as a smart keypad/camera on your front door. There’s also a security base station inside your home.

Once it’s all set up and running, you can check the status of any door or window using your phone – the sensors feed all the information through the base station and then directly to you.

You can also remotely unlock the doors of your home, and use the camera to check out visitors before they step foot inside.

Smart lights let you control your home's lighting architecture, building, estate, facade, home, house, property, real estate, residential area, sky, window, gray
Smart lights let you control your home's lighting using your smartphone.

Lighting

Home automation and security are truly a match made in heaven – especially for those who can’t stand a family member leaving the lights on!

These systems are typically made up of network-enabled light bulbs, which connect to a smart bridge through the power wiring in your home. It’s also common to install motion sensors to add additional functionality.

Once everything is connected, you gain access to these useful functions.

  • The lights can turn themselves off when they sense there’s no one in the room
  • You can control the lights manually from your phone
  • You can set up routines for the lights to follow when you’re on holiday

Entertainment

When it comes to home automation and entertainment, it helps to think of how you can use all of the different technologies to create useful experiences.

Picture this: You slide into a comfortable chair, hit a button, and the lighting starts to dim. At the same time, a projector screen slides down from the ceiling and a projector starts to warm up.

In another scenario, just before your alarm usually goes off, you curtains start to retract by themselves and the lights start to slowly increasing in brightness.

That’s just two uses for home automation in the entertainment space.

Certain smart fridges adjust things like temperature, airflow food, produce, vegetable, gray, white
Certain smart fridges adjust things like temperature, airflow and humidity inside the fridge.

Appliances

Perhaps the easiest way to automate certain functions of your home, adding new smart appliances is an excellent starting point.

Take the smart fridge as just one example. Samsung’s Family Hub hooks up to your home’s internet connection, and can then let you know which ingredients are running low. It can also show you a live camera feed of the inside of the fridge, and adjust energy usage based on your patterns.

Or smaller smart speakers give your home a smart voice-enabled assistant in an affordable, easy to install package. These devices can be useful in the kitchen, where you can simply ask the device to set a timer or read out a recipe.

How to get started with home automation

Ready to dive into the world of home automation? Here are a few of the big players who have the technology available right now.

  • Nest: Home security, smart thermostats and internet-connected cameras. More
  • Control4: A number of different smart home solutions, with a focus on different parts of the home. More
  • Sopersmac: Home security systems as well as more traditional home hardware. More
  • Amazon: Echo and Alexa smart speakers capable of answering questions and playing music. More
Jul 26, 2018
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